Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dreaming of Knitting

I have a dream of being able to knit clothing. Every day I watch Mum sitting there with her wool and needles, creating a masterpiece of a cardigan. And every time I wish I had the skills and the patience to make one for myself.

Not being a skilful knitter however, the goal of knitting myself a cardigan seems to be far off at the moment. I've never attempted anything so large, or so complex before. So, it seems I need practice before I can pick up my needles for that project.

My plan then, is to start small and work my way up. And so I am starting with a hat for my youngest sister, Gemma-Rose. Made with odd balls of left over wool, it's going to match her Neenish Tart cardigan made by Mum.

And from there, who knows what else I might attempt? Maybe one day I will at last work my way up to creating my own piece of perfect clothing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Something Worth Writing About

It's strange. Normally I love blogging. My mind is usually buzzing with ideas for blog posts, and sometimes I'm even organised enough to schedule some. But in the past week, I've neglected blogging. One blog post in a week, on the wrong day! Clearly something needs to be done.

The problem is that I've been centred on one thing, writing. And in particular, Camp NaNoWriMo. Every spare minute is filled with glorious tapping of keys as a novel appears on the screen before me. Oh, I could say a lot on the subject of Camp NaNoWriMo.

But this is not entirely a writing blog. And my followers aren't all writing people. Clearly, I can't bother you all with writing post after writing post. No, something must be done.

I have nothing to say, so I'll have to go out there and do something. Maybe I'll go and knit a hat for my sister to go with her new Neenish Tart jumper. Or I might draw something. Maybe I'll even get around to filming my sisters singing Disney. But I'll do something other than writing. Because what's a blogger without subjects to blog about?

Do you ever find it hard to think of blog posts to write? What do you do when you haven't done anything worth writing about?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writing With Friends

Camp NaNoWriMo is flying ahead. I've written thousands of words, and I'm really enjoying myself during this month. In fact, I think I'm enjoying myself more this month than I did in November. Which made me stop and think, why?

The main difference between Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo is actually something I've done. I got involved in the forums, and that has made all the difference.

Writing in November, it was me, and my family. I had all my sisters and my Mum doing it. But apart from them, I had no contact with anyone in the NaNoWriMo world. I avoided forums like the plague, and stayed in my own little world, the embodiment of the solitary writer.

But this month, I took the plunge. I commented in a few forums, and suddenly, I've made a million friends. It's filled with writer who love writing! Not surprising, but very exciting. I have a group of friends now who will word war with me, rejoice when I have a great writing day, share excerpts of their novels with me, and laugh and joke with me.

And it's changed my whole camp.

It's fun. It's motivating. And it's good to know that there are other people, other than my family and blogging friends who are cheering for me, and for whom I can cheer.

So, from this I have learnt an important lesson. Writing is so much better when you have writing friends.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creativity Breeds Creativity

The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is over, and I'm starting to notice a strange, but encouraging thing. Being creative makes you more creative.

Since planning my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo, I've been struck with ideas for another four novels, plus I've got many, many ideas for the next rewrite of another book. This is the most ideas I've ever had at any one time. Being creative has given me a rush of ideas.

My theory is that being creative opens up the creative part of your mind. You're thinking creatively, so you're ready to have more thoughts, ready to be hit with more inspiration. And once you start, those ideas are (hopefully) going to keep flooding in.

So my advice? If you want to be creative, go out and start thinking creatively. Because being creative makes you more creative.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

PicMonkey: Replacing Picnik

Picnik used to be my favourite online photo editing site. Even without a premium account, it had some great features, and with a premium account, it was fantastic. It had features for collages, adding text, touching up your photos, adding frames and special effects. And I loved it.

But then Picnik was bought out by Google and because part of Google+. On investigation, it wasn't even worth joining Google+ for use the program, because the collage feature, the most important in my eyes, wasn't there.

My beautiful blog header
Which left me with a dilemma. What was I to use for making collages now? How was I supposed to make beautiful collections of photos without Picnik? Searching for another site didn't bring up anything useful. There were plenty of free sites which allow you to edit your photos, but none gave you to option of making a collage.

Then, Mum introduced me to a new site, called PicMonkey. It's got virtually all the features of Picnik, plus a few more, and, most importantly, it's got the collage maker I wanted. Obviously, this was a site to explore.

On checking it out, I found so many options it was hard to decide what to use on my photos. PicMonkey has so many ways of making your photos beautiful. My Camp NaNoWriMo novel's cover was made on PicMonkey. My collage blog header was made on PicMonkey. And my Facebook cover photo was also a product of this site.
My Facebook cover photo.

I'm not sad that Picnik's gone any more. With PicMonkey around, I have all the photo editing options I could possibly want. I am perfectly content.

Have you used PicMonkey before? What do you use to edit your photos with?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Winter Running

The cold weather has set in now, and the mornings are dark. For the Elvis Running team, this means no more early morning runs. It's just too cold and dark, even for us.

Does this mean the end of running until the warmer weather comes in spring, bringing light and motivation with it? No! The Elvis Running Team always has a plan up their sleeves. Our plan for Winter Running? Running indoors, on a treadmill.

It's very different from running outside. There's no beautiful scenery to look at as you fly (or pant) past. There's no fresh, cold, clear air, to suck into your tired lungs. There's no way anyone else can run with you, puffing out words of encouragement and promises of drinks breaks.

But, we can run. And it's warm. And I can finally start reclaiming some lost fitness after six weeks of being ill. And it means that we can run all the way through winter, right up until the warmer weather. Treadmill running is different, more solitary, but still good. It's all running.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo Begins

It's the very first day of Camp NaNoWriMo. I've got my outline (yes, amazing for me), my writing buddies, my fingerless gloves (perfect for writing in cold weather), and my home made book cover. I can't wait to get started!

I'm going to be tracking my novel writing progress on my 'NaNoWriMo events' page, if anyone is interested in following my journey through this challenge. I thought about making a whole separate page for Camp NaNoWriMo, but wasn't sure whether I should. What do you think?

So, here we go. Thirty days of novelling mayhem. Wish me luck, speedy fingers, and plenty of inspiration.